Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens' Leader and Forests spokesperson
Resources Minister, Guy Barnett, is either misleading or in denial over the evidence that an increased number of log trucks on Tasmanian roads will lead to an increase in serious accidents and fatalities.
Mr Barnett has chosen today to highlight comments I made in Parliament two weeks ago to try to distract from the Treasurer's appearance before the Public Accounts Committee.
My comments were not directed at heavy vehicle drivers but at the very real risk that the Liberals' push to ramp up native forest logging will see an increase in the number of large, heavily laden log and woodchip trucks on Tasmanian roads.
In 2005, a State Government commissioned, independent report found log and woodchip trucks were two and half to four times more likely to roll over than other heavy vehicles.
In 2009, a Worksafe Tasmania safety check at Triabunna found that every single log truck they examined had safety defects.
When a car collides with a log truck, too often the results are catastrophic. The majority of Tasmanian road users would acknowledge that more log trucks on the roads make them less safe. This is especially so on our winding, narrow, rural roads.
My comments were not directed at drivers, but were based on the evidence that more log trucks on Tasmanian roads will make them less safe.
The fact is, the more log trucks on our roads, the less safe they will be for all road users, including log truck drivers
I have spoken to, or heard from, log truck drivers who still suffer trauma as a result of a tragic collision that most certainly wasn't their fault. I am sorry for any hurt that was caused by my words.
In the recent debate on the forestry bill, the Minister by his own admission said there had been significantly fewer log truck crashes that resulted in serious injuries and fatalities over the past few years.
The evidence suggests this is the result of the downturn in the native forest logging industry in recent years and, therefore, fewer log trucks on the road.
If Mr Barnett has any evidence to support his belief that there is no extra road risk associated with the Liberals' logging push, he should produce it.